Mr. Arthur Mitchell was a groundbreaking American ballet dancer, choreographer, and founder and director of the Dance Theatre of Harlem. He danced his final steps on this side of the divide, joining the ancestors in a grand choreography that is only for those in the beyond. Raised in Harlem, the late Mr. Mitchell was the first African-American dancer to become a principal dancer of a major American dance company. He joined New York City Ballet in 1955 where he rose to the position of principal dancer, and danced in major roles until 1966. George Balanchine created several roles for him, including those in A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1962) and Agon (1967) amongst many others. He was teacher, mentor, guardian Angel to many particularly at a time when Africans in the United States and worldwide were struggling to affirm their dignity and personhood.
Karen Brown spent twenty-two years as Principal Ballerina, featured artist, master teacher and lecturer with the Dance Theatre of Harlem (DTH) under the direction of its founder, Arthur Mitchell. She was a master teacher and adjudicator for the DTH’s Kennedy Center Community Outreach Residency in Washington, D.C., Director of Education at the Atlanta Ballet Centre for Dance Education, and served as Artistic Director of Oakland Ballet Company.
Adesola Akinleye, PhD began her career as a dancer with the Dance Theatre of Harlem (DTH). She is a choreographer, dancer, researcher and teacher. Adesola Akinleye holds a PhD in Sociology of the Body from Canterbury Christ Church University, UK, and currently is a Senior Lecturer at Middlesex University. Find out more about her at: www.dancingstrong.com
Theara J. Ward began her professional career with the Dance Theater of Harlem at thirteen years old and made her Broadway debut, featured in BLACK AND BLUE. Originated role of ‘Ghost of Christmas Future’ in “A CHRISTMAS CAROL” at Madison Square Garden. Recent appearances include “The Mile Long Opera,“ music by David Lang, ”for colored girls who have considered suicide when the rainbow is enuff” by Ntozake Shange with Project1Voice amongst others. Theara Ward has also penned her one woman show, “From The Heart Of A Sistah: A Chorepoem. She works internationally as a Dance Professional and Arts Activists. Find out more at: www.dancetheatreofharlem.org/thearaward
Dion Wilson is a native of Baltimore, Maryland. Mr. Wilson was a member of the Philadelphia Dance Company (Philadanco), the Dance Theatre of Harlem (DTH) and the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre where he performed many principal roles. He was part of the award winning Broadway Musical, The Lion King and worked with Bill T. Jones on the creation of Fela! The Broadway Musical. He is a highly sought after performer, dance educator, and choreographer.
Lorraine Graves joined Dance Theatre of Harlem in the fall of 1978 rising to the rank of Principal Dancer and later became Ballet Mistress and Regisseuse of the company. She’s the lead adjudicator and faculty of the West Va. Dance Festival; a guest teacher for the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre; resident guest faculty for the Alabama School of Fine Arts and on the faculty of Ballet Virginia International and The Governor’s School for the Arts.
Wuyi Jacobs / AfrobeatRadio
Dr. Carol Marie Webster, PhD. Visiting Scholar at the Institute for Religion, Culture and Public Life at Columbia University. She is also the conductor/Instructor/co-producer of AfrobeatRadio’s ongoing workshops on Critical Joy.
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